I work with and preach in churches, including my own. Over the years I have known and now know many pastors, so I get to keep an eye on what is happening in the “church scene”. I have said before that more churches, lately, are avoiding names that reveal who they really are, like Assembly of God, Church of God, Lutheran, Wesleyan, Methodist or Baptist. Instead they use names that sound either like new subdivisions or tech companies, hoping that will “trick” seekers or something. Just from my area, we have names like “River Ridge”, “Bridgepointe” or “Stonebridge”. Then there is “North Link”, “Catalyst”, ”Momentum”, “Epic Church” and one of my favorites, ”Sunnyside”. That last one sounds either like an IHOP breakfast special or a beach resort!
Anyway, with all this marketing (the action or business of promoting and selling products or services) going on, it reveals that leadership in businesses and churches see branding and promotion as a crucial way to get themselves noticed, especially if they are a new church plant. This is understandable. One of the key aspects of this trend is for churches to have a short “to-the-point” mission statement that sums up the church vision. Of course, for new churches, there is no way they can know that their motto will have ANY bearing on what they are, because each living expression of the body of Christ is much like a child. You can name your baby, but you will have no idea for years what that “child” will look like. Naming is an expression of faith but branding and describing something that is in its infancy is either awesome prophetic faith (oft times not) or a desire to brand it something that people may like (more likely).
When Sir Isaac Newton discovered then published his three Laws of Motion in 1687 in his “Principia Mathematica” it turned the world of science upside down and revolutionized the way scientists view the world and how they view objects, gravity and movement. In short, his observations were foundational! Today all physics are built upon these fundamental or foundational teachings of motion, inertia and gravity.
At our church recently, my son Ryan has been doing foundational teachings to insure our body has a grasp and is in good shape on the basics of the foundational teachings of Hebrews 6. We teach that “doing them” is our foundation. Without acting on Christ’s words, Christianity is just enlightened theory and philosophy. The power comes from acting upon God’s words which Jesus said was like building our house on a rock (Mat. 7:24-25). In the same way, Newton’s foundational laws apply and are realized when acted upon.
Every season when spring comes, I get outside onto the acre our home sits on and spend a lot of time with “lawn spring cleaning” before it gets too warm. There is much work necessary each season as we clean up brush and leaves, pile up dead branches for burning, trim limbs and occasionally chop down smaller trees. Also clearing areas of brush while it’s relatively easy must be done before the growth takes off.
These times are good for me because I need the long periods of brisk exercise and cardio and the mild temperatures allow me to labor for hours. I also have a great opportunity to hear the Lord when involved in this kind of task. For some reason I always can hear His voice much clearer when involved in this kind of work. I also see many analogies of things I love to read about in the Word of God. The entire bible has them, but the NT especially has three kinds of analogies that Jesus, Paul and other writers used.
These parables have themes that are:
Remember that moment in the epic movie,”Braveheart” when William Wallace, on the battlefield, is knocked off his horse by a knight with his face shielded in a helmet? When the knight comes over to see if Wallace is alive, Wallace, playing dead, then grabs him, rips his helmet off & puts a knife to his throat, finding out it is Robert the Bruce,the designated heir to the Scottish throne who has betrayed Wallace to Edward the 1st of England?
This poignant moment of betrayal is what many pastor and leaders are feeling as they see their brothers and sisters in ministry around them succumbing to the pull of the tide of popular culture, stoked by the media and others to throw out “antiquated” positions of Christianity like the definition of marriage and rejection of the words of Christ as unimportant.
Pastor Marc Lawson
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